Can Dart Frogs Swim ? Deep Water Features.

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There has been a lot of chatter and questions about this topic topic lately, on this forum as well as another...

Yes, Virginia.....dart frogs CAN indeed swim, but here are some problems and reasons why we do not recommend a deep water feature:

1. NEWBIES. A HUGE proportion of new hobbyists have some universal temptations. Mixed species is probably the biggest but not far behind is;

"I want to build a waterfall or stream or big pond in my first dart frog tank" "I would like a pond with fish in it too"

New hobbyists also assume that since the dart frog is...well...."Frog shaped" it must like to be in the water and therefore spend a lot of time swimming. INCORRECT. The majority of dart frogs and almost every single species available to hobbyists do not spend time in a water feature, soak constantly, or even need a waterfall or other water feature. They do just fine with high humidity and hand spraying.

The other reason to dissuade new hobbyists of the "swimming frog" issue is to not have them spend the extra time, effort and money in a pump and moving water feature when it is just not necessary for them. Keep it simple.

2. Disease and Pathogens. A water feature, especially in a smaller viv, like most that newer people construct can accumulate waste, disease and be very hard to maintain and clean. first....keep it simple. Feeder insects will die in the water as well, both depriving the frog of acquiring the insect and also fouling the water.

3. Poor construction. And this falls under the "Newbie" category as well, I guess. If you are new to frog keeping and vivarium construction, then chances are, the layout of the vivarium will be less than ideal. The rear wall and sides will probably not be hardscaped correctly and there will be no terracing - meaning that the surface area and that area which the frogs can utilize as living space will not be optimal. When that is the case, the last thing that should happen is for a water feature to cut into the living space as well, further limited the frogs usable space.

4. Species Aggression. This IS the biggie. Small tincs can show aggression as young as froglet size. A common aggressive action is for one frog to obtain dominance over another frog (usually a slightly smaller sized frog) and stand on it's back or head. The submissive frog will often cower or flatten and if this is done in or near water, the result can be fatal. The other stressor is the aggressive frog pursuing the submissive frog all around the (small) vivarium. They will continually come in contact with the water feature and if it is large enough, or poorly constructed, the weaker frog could become tired and trapped in the water - drowning. Is it common? I am positive that it happened to one of my frogs in a communal morphing container - I saw it with my own eyes.

Some thoughts...

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".

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